A prototype index of factors affecting mental wellbeing in England

Gyles Glover (North East Public Health Observatory, Wolfson Research Institute, University of Durham, Stockton‐on‐Tees, UK)
Rebecca Lee (North East Public Health Observatory, Wolfson Research Institute, University of Durham, Stockton‐on‐Tees, UK)
Alison Copeland (North East Public Health Observatory, Wolfson Research Institute, University of Durham, Stockton‐on‐Tees, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Publication date: 17 June 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to discuss the development of a prototype index of the factors influencing mental wellbeing in local areas in England.

Design/methodology/approach

To support developments in mental health policy, a prototype version of an index of the extent of factors affecting wellbeing was developed for the 149 local government areas (local authorities). The work was based on a well‐developed conceptualisation of factors affecting mental wellbeing set out in a current Department of Health background paper. This identified five domains of relevant factors with positive and negative influences in each. For each of the five domains (“a positive start in life”, “resilience and a safe and secure base”, “integrated physical and mental health” “sustainable, connected communities”, and “meaning and purpose”), the authors attempted to find proxy measures of positive and risk factors among routinely collected government statistics. This proved difficult; measures for positive factors in three domains and risk factors in four domains were identified. These were combined to give scores for overall positive and negative influences on wellbeing and a resulting overall index. This was done using the methods developed for the English Index of Multiple Deprivation.

Findings

Positive factor scores are generally higher in rural areas, particularly the West Midlands, Bedfordshire, and Cambridgeshire, a southerly strip from Somerset and Dorset to Surrey, and Yorkshire, and Northumberland in the north. In London, Richmond, Bromley, and Havering score highly. High‐risk factor scores are generally seen in most urban areas, with a band of high scores from Liverpool and Manchester, through the West Yorkshire towns to Hull and Scunthorpe, clusters in the North East around Tyneside and Teesside and central London, particularly Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Southwark, Lambeth, and Kensington and Chelsea. In London, Richmond, Harrow, and Redbridge have notably low scores. Some notable regional differences were seen in the patterns of positive and risk rankings. The North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North West stand out as having generally higher positive scores for any level of risk than Midland and Southern regions; London authorities have the lowest positive – in relation to risk scores.

Originality/value

The authors hope that the publication of a pilot study may prove helpful in identifying some of the issues which will need to be tackled if a fully working index in this area is to be developed.

Keywords

Citation

Glover, G., Lee, R. and Copeland, A. (2011), "A prototype index of factors affecting mental wellbeing in England", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 81-87. https://doi.org/10.1108/17465721111154275

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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